Talent is nothing to God – oh really?

Okay, here’s a sticky theological question from a reader:

Dan, I love to share my faith with others and I seem to have many natural talents, skills and abilities suited for a minister. Many people have even suggested I enter the Ministry. However, I believe that no matter how suited someone may be for ministry they must be called of God in order to be a Minister. Talent is nothing to God. He rather wants a fully surrendered and obedient individual. I suppose my question is how do I know whether I’m called to be a minister or just an entrepreneur with an idea I’m passionate about? – John

How does God “call” us except through giving us skills and abilities, personality traits and passions that draw us in a particular direction?  To think that God will ask a “fully surrendered and obedient individual” to something where there is no alignment with natural talents opens the door to heartache and misery. 

Let’s just play out John’s thinking here.  How would you like to attend a church where the pastor has no talent, skill or passion for that position – but he was just “willing and obedient?”  How long would you attend that church?

Apply this thinking to any work.  Would you want a doctor who had no skill but thought he was “called” to the medical profession?  How about a teacher who had a passion for being an artist but was convinced through well-meaning family that she was “called” to be a teacher? 

I’ve met with too many pastors, missionaries, and teachers who were obedient and willing, but whose natural skills did not line up with what their attempts to do something “Godly.”  Many confused “calling” with the family tradition or the expectations of others.  And their work was frustrating, spiritually depleting and ultimately led to a crisis that required change.

When there is an alignment of our skills, abilities, talents, personality traits and passions we will recognize God’s “call.”  We will experience work that is fulfilling, meaningful, purposeful – and profitable. 

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“The place God calls you to is the place where your deep gladness and the world’s deep hunger meet.” Frederick Buechner

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